Skip to comments.Coalition forces helping Muslims complete hajj (our incredibly decent military)
Posted on 12/13/2005 1:07:12 PM PST by STARWISE
Mideast edition, Monday, December 12, 2005
U.S., Afghan and coalition troops are helping groups of Afghan Muslims to complete the hajj, the annual religious pilgrimage to Mecca.
Last week, some 150 Afghans flew from Kandahar Airfield to Saudi Arabia, with a little assistance from the troops.
Making the hajj at least once in a lifetime is one of the pillars of Islam.
More than 4 million Muslims from throughout the world are expected to participate in the hajj this year.
In recent years, the sheer number of pilgrims has led to stampedes and other accidents in which hundreds have been killed.
The Afghan travelers assembled at a stadium in downtown Kandahar with the assistance of Afghan National Police officers, and then rode buses to the airport, where the Afghan Border Police provided security, according to a U.S. military news release.
The trip to Medina, Saudi Arabia, is one of many commercial flights over a two-week period carrying pilgrims from southern Afghanistan to their Hajj destination. So far about 500 Hajj participants have departed from Kandahar, with about 3,000 more expected.
U.S. and other coalition troops gave each Afghan traveler a bag containing a prayer rug, towel, thermos, razors, shaving cream and other personal-hygiene items, a U.S. spokesman said.
Its an honor and a privilege for coalition forces to support those Afghans making this important journey, Lt. Col. Jerry OHara, Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman, said.
The hajj is considered a journey of a lifetime for a devout Muslim.
A person who has completed the hajj returns to his or her community with the honorific Haji.
The pilgrimage consists of traveling to the sacred city of Mecca, which is closed to all non-Muslims during the Islamic calendars month of Dhu al-Hijjah. The whole city is considered one of the most holy sites in the Muslim world.
Pilgrims perform a series of walks and symbolic actions at various sites.
After completing the rites, according to the online Wikipedia, many male pilgrims will shave their heads, and many women cut off a lock of their hair as a symbol of rebirth.
By Capt. James H. Cunningham 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan As U.S. forces prepare to return control of the airport terminal and tower to Afghan control, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bellard, computer communications systems operator, 451st Air Expeditionary Group Support Communications Section, programs an Internet switch to prepare for the relocation of personnel from both the Kandahar Air Mobility Command passenger terminal and air terminal operations center. As U.S. forces prepare to return control of the airport terminal and tower to Afghan control, combat communicators here have installed more than a mile of copper and fiber cabling. Sergeant Bellard a native of Church Point, La., is deployed here from the Hammond Air National Guard Station in Hammond, La. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Marcus McDonald) (Released) combat communicators assigned to 451st Air Expeditionary Group communications flight here recently stepped up and out of their lanes to provide critical communications by installing more than a mile of copper and fiber cabling.
When a short-suspense installation project could not be staffed by an engineering and installation team, the flight took the challenge head-on. The communications flight began the work of re-routing more than 6,000 feet of communication lines to ensure connectivity wasnt lost during the changeover.
The project involved running the wiring through conduit and burying it in trenches. The project has also left room for additional cables for expansion in the future. We were able to get the process started to make sure no capabilities were lost, said Capt. Paul Perron, 451st AEG Communications Flight commander, deployed here from the 236th Combat Communications Squadron in Hammond, La. Theyve picked up the ball and run with it like you wouldnt believe.
For the flight of less than 20 Airmen, charged with maintaining network communications for the Air Force personnel and missions here, innovation has become a way of life.
Its inspiring to know that what were doing, in the long run, will make it a whole lot better here than it has been in a long time, said Master Sgt. Richard Poole, deployed from the 223rd Combat Communications Squadron in Hot Springs, Ark.
Master Sgt. Ric Poole, NCOIC of maintenance, 451st Air Expeditionary Group Support Communications Section, helps dig a ditch for relocating 2,400 feet of radar fiber and computer network and phone cable here.
As U.S. forces prepare to return control of the airport terminal and tower to Afghan control, combat communicators here have installed more than a mile of copper and fiber cabling. Sergeant Poole, an Air National Guardsman, is deployed here from Hot Springs Memorial Air Field in Hot Springs, Ark. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Marcus McDonald) (Released)Other improvements have also been made. Communicators devised a way to increase the networks bandwidth capability 10 fold by upgrading and installing enhanced network switches.
This has allowed us to have fewer network problems and better support the mission, said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bellard, 451st AEG Communications Flights NCOIC of network management, deployed from the 236th Combat Communications Squadron in Hammond, La.
Improving systems here, especially those used by operators, has a direct impact on the mission.
Losing communication here can literally mean life and death to the people were supporting, said Sergeant Bellard.
As Afghanistan begins to take more control, Airmen here are planning on making a lasting impact in the Global War on Terror.
This isnt about making temporary changes, said Col. Gerald E. Szpila, 451st AEG commander. Were taking a long-term approach and making improvements that will last well beyond our AEF cycle. The results will benefit not only the rotations to come, but will also lay a foundation for a better Afghanistan.
More at link above
Packing 'em in to that gorgeous old 727-200, I see.
Our military IS incredibly decent. Somehow, if, say, the Saudi army was "peacekeeping" in Afghanistan, I couldn't see them seeing Christian pilgrims off to the Holy Land and giving them razors, soap, and a Gideon bible, could you?
Didn't think so.
At the risk of beheading, maybe. Dear Lord, how we are blessed with young men and women, volunterring to sacrifice and do battle, amid great risk, for US. There is no other country like the USA, with young warriors and patriots like ours. God Bless Them and their families richly.
Of course they would do this - why be so cynical? That would be the same group of Christian pilgrims whose bus would plunge off of a cliff, or whose flight would mysteriously crash. Will of @llah and all that.
Why is the ACLU not protesting this overt act of US government support to a specific religion for a specific religious sacrament?
Their silence is deafening. They are part of the "Red Jihad".
And it reveals far more about them than they realize.
It sure does..